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Northeast Ohio businesses brace themselves for further COVID-19 impact

Posted at 10:23 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 23:22:29-04

CLEVELAND — Northeast Ohio business owners outlined the devastating impact Ohio's coronavirus stay-at-home order is already having on the local economy, and with Governor Mike DeWine extending the order to May 1, some are wondering if they have any chance of survival.

Cindy Barber, owner of the popular Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland's Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District, told News 5 she's is in a fight to stay financially afloat.

The Beachland Ballroom just celebrated its 20-year anniversary and Barber is wondering if loan money from the $350 billion dollar federal Paycheck Protection Program will come in time to save dozens, perhaps hundreds of local business on the brink of closing forever.

“If you don’t have your application ready to go first thing tomorrow morning, it may be too late,” Barber said.

“Well I think everybody on this street is really struggling, I mean there’s nobody on this street right now.”

“Well we hope to be here when the world comes back."

Cleveland Councilman Michael Polensek is asking his fellow council members and Mayor Frank Jackson to consider delaying certain city projects and other financial commitments in 2020 and steer the funds toward helping small business owners.

“I mean this has been devastating, and you’re seeing the impact as you drive through the commercial districts throughout the city,” Polensek said

“Some of them think they will not survive, they’re even concerned about the so called federal help coming down the pike, so are they going to get it.”

“I think the City of Cleveland has to look at what we can do on the local level, the county, all of us working together, we’ve never experienced anything like this.”

“The bulk of our employment is with small business, it will have a devastating impact.”

Zach Schiller with Policy Matters Ohio believes only the federal government is best suited to help greater Cleveland businesses.

Schiller said it's going to be tough for cities, which are losing millions in tax revenue, to even keep basic city services going at full strength in the coming months.

“The federal government is the one that can pay for this, or is able to do it," Schiller said .

"The state and local governments are simply not in a position to afford a lot of new stuff right now, they have no handle on tax revenue losses."

“You’re going to see a major fallout here, as far as local governments that depend on municipal income taxes."

"Cincinnati has already said they’re laying off 20% of it’s workers.”

Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley said council is working to set-up a system to be able to work remotely on-line.

Kelly said council will work toward trying to figure out if there is anything more the city can do to help business owners in the coming weeks.